Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodbye 58 - Hello 59!

Heartwood - Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway
Abingdon, VA - July 30, 2014

Giving a thumbs up to the naming of this blog four years ago, I’ll have to say that my 58th year was most definitely one of “gains and losses.”  At times, it seemed the losses were far outnumbering the gains.  The year began on a high note as we closed on our new condo the day before my 58th birthday.  We were astounded at how quickly and smoothly the process had fallen into place.  We moved on August 6 and even that went flawlessly. 

July 29, 2013
Then things started going downhill….not going into every detail because that isn’t the point of this post, but it all culminated with Bill’s cancer diagnosis in late September.  And no need to rehash that nightmare! 

I cannot even so much as imply that I’d like to forget my 58th year because it has taught me so many things about life, love, perseverance, friendship, patience and compassion.  And that’s just for starters.  But neither can I tell you that I wasn’t excited about celebrating my 59th birthday and looking forward to the final year of this decade for me. 

We celebrated all week long!  But we did it with a great deal of spontaneity, which you might recall, is not one of my strongest qualities.  I prefer things to be planned and organized!  But with Bill still struggling to eat and never quite knowing if it was going to be a good day or a difficult day with respect to his strength/stamina, we just had to take it a day at a time.  We visited several local restaurants that were new to us, found and sauntered along a few new greenways/walking paths in our city that we hadn’t previously discovered, spent some time with family and enjoyed some fun scenic driving to places we hadn’t visited in awhile. 

On my actual birthday (July 30) I asked to drive up to Abingdon, VA, one of our favorite getaway spots.  It’s a couple of hours north of Knoxville and best known for being the starting or ending point of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a much loved former railroad converted to bike path which you’ve read about many times on this blog. (See Note at bottom of post) But Abingdon is also a wonderful town with a beautiful historic district and a very pleasant destination with something for everyone.  Obviously we are not biking right now (plus wouldn’t be doing that in July anyway), but we did enjoy a walk along the Creeper Trail, a visit to the absolutely beautiful Abingdon Winery and our first visit to Heartwood, Virginia’s new Artisan Craft Center. 

All of today’s pictures were taken on that birthday trip to Abingdon and most of them along the Creeper Trail.

I have big plans for my 59th year and they all involve forward progress for me in every aspect of my life.  My 58th year brought a lot of change and it is my desire for 59 to be a year in which I learn from those challenges and become a stronger person because of them.

 Not bad for one old broad and one amazing cancer survivor!
July 30, 2014 - My 59th Birthday!

NOTE:  When searching previous posts to link you to one with more pictures of Abingdon and the Creeper Trail, I had forgotten about our Fall Break, 2011 adventure which also included a visit to Mountain Lake Resort in Pemborke, VA where most of the film Dirty Dancing was shot.  I didn't remember writing that tribute to Patrick Swayze, one of my all time favorite actors, and his very public battle with pancreatic cancer.  Little did I know that exactly two years later, my own husband would be fighting his own battle with cancer.  While Patrick ultimately lost his battle, we are forever grateful that Bill has won his!  Thanks be to God!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Be Patient With Me Please!

My Favorite Place To Walk - Knoxville, TN
July 28, 2014

Perhaps I jumped the gun by a week or two, but it my excitement to begin writing again, I just wanted to start immediately.  In retrospect, I should’ve remembered that the days between my birthday (July 30) and Bill returning to school are always hectic and busy.  NOT a good time to work on re-establishing a habit!  Those who have been reading for awhile know that the days after he returns to school each year are always a struggle for me as I miss him and the time we are able to spend together each summer.  This summer has been particularly poignant as we’ve worked hard to get him as strong as we can before he begins the long days of a rigorous teaching schedule.  He is much better, but still has difficulty with extreme fatigue and although eating better, eating ENOUGH is the challenge he faces. 

I’m learning to let go and realize that I’ve really done all for him that I can.  I’ve cared for him for most of an entire year and now need to focus on my health and my mental well being while continuing to support him on tough days.  I have turned my eyes toward getting back into hiking shape and hitting the trails both in my much loved Smoky Mountains and tentatively planning some solo travel with hiking friends between now and Christmas. 

So please be patient with me as I work on finding the best time to sit down and write.  I’ve made some additional commitments for this year at my church and have mentally committed to some other activities that I think are important, but will take time.  Time that was once spent reading and writing blogs.  But I am excited about it all and think there is room – I just have to get it all worked out!

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from my favorite new walking place near our condo.  I am very grateful that our condo complex is small and quiet with a wonderful horseshoe shaped road for walking.  It even has some hills!  It’s  a great place to get some exercise!  But within a mile or two in several directions is an extensive greenway system along with quite a few miles of mountain biking trails.  These pics are all taken at a greenway attached to what is now my closest branch of our public library system.

At the start - Public Library branch is to the left just out of sight!

Hard to see, but this is really quite an incline!

And this is quite a decline thankfully via switchbacks!

 Two of several statues placed throughout the park.  These are my favorites!
Both remind me of ME!  I only wish there was a hiker!

Where have YOU been walking lately?